The New England Patriots are shelling out big-money to upgrade their offense.
The Pats and former Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith have agreed to a contract, NFL Network's Mike Giardi reported Monday, per a source informed of the pact.
The deal is for four years, worth $50 million, including $31.25 million guaranteed, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. The $12.5 million per year average places Smith third among tight ends behind George Kittle and Travis Kelce. The guaranteed money is tops at the position.
The pass-catching tight end is a perfect fit in New England and will immediately upgrade a weapons-poor unit that surrounded Cam Newton in 2020.
In four years in Tennessee, Smith compiled 114 catches for 1,302 yards and 16 touchdowns. The athletic dynamo is dominant after the catch, averaging 6.8 YAC over his career.
In the past, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has glowed about Smith's talent after the catch.
"(He's) great after the catch, probably the best in the league," Belichick said in January of 2020. "I mean, I can't imagine anyone better than him after the catch."
Now that YAC demon will be running over defenders for Belichick's squad.
The Patriots were in desperate need of upgrading the tight end position. Not a single Pats TE had more than 14 catches in 2020. Ryan Izzo led the way with 13 catches for 199 yards. It was one of the worst groups in the league.
Blocking isn't Smith's forte, but it's improved the last few years to the point that it isn't a negative, which will be key in the Pats' balanced offense.
The 25-year-old immediately upgrades the tight ends room and provides Newton, or whomever ends up with the starting gig, a go-to target. While Smith's numbers aren't eye-popping to start his career, the former third-round pick continues to improve and should see his production soar as a top option in New England.
The Pats entered free agency with a chunk of cap space to use. While most of the league is tightening its pocket strings ahead of the new league year opening Wednesday, Belichick is able to shell out cash. He's exploiting the market early.
In addition to landing Smith, the Pats are beefing up their defense at the start of free agency.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported the Patriots have agreed with former Ravens pass rusher Matt Judon to a four-year, $56 million contract, while NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported former Eagles defensive back Jalen Mills agreed to travel north to New England on a four-year, $24 million deal.
Earlier Monday, Giardi reported the Patriots will sign defensive tackle Davon Godchaux to a two-year contract and former Jets starter Henry Anderson is also headed in on a two-year deal, Rapoport repoted.
Godchaux deal is for two years, worth a max of $16 million, with $9 million fully guaranteed, per Rapoport.